Attorney General James seeks complete forgiveness of federal student loan debt

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In a letter, AG James and the Multi-State Coalition urge President Biden
to cancel all publicly held debt for student borrowers

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James has led a multi-state coalition of eight attorneys general to urge US President Joe Biden to completely forgive federal student debt owed by every federal borrower in the country. In a letter to President Biden, Attorney General James and the coalition stress that immediate relief is needed for borrowers struggling with the unmanageable burden of student debt. Attorneys General recognize the administration’s commitment to addressing the issue, however, the coalition urges President Biden to immediately exercise his authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel all federal student loan debt for each borrower.

“While I commend President Biden for seriously considering forgiving $10,000 per borrower, we need to take bolder and more decisive action to end this crisis and provide Americans with the tools they need to thrive.” , said Attorney General James. “Student debt prevents millions of struggling borrowers from achieving financial stability and leads to a cycle of financial burdens that follows them throughout their lives. I join my colleagues in urging President Biden to lead one of the most impactful racial and economic justice initiatives in history by canceling this debt, in its entirety, for all.

Currently, student borrowers owe the federal government over $1.7 trillion. In its letter, the coalition argues that full student debt cancellation is necessary to address the enormity of the debts owed, the systemically flawed repayment and remission systems, and the disproportionate impact of the debt burden on millions of borrowers. While state attorneys general have taken key steps to ease the debt burden where possible, the coalition argues that only permanent action by the Biden administration can provide the widespread relief that millions of federal borrowers need. need.

The coalition further argues that canceling federal student loan debt will reduce stress and mental fatigue and provide countless opportunities for borrowers, such as saving for retirement and buying new homes.

The attorneys general of Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Puerto Rico and Washington join Attorney General James in sending the letter to President Biden.

The coalition letter is the latest action taken by Attorney General James to support student borrowers. In April 2022, Attorney General James secured student debt relief for thousands of New York borrowers whose federal loans were allegedly mismanaged by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. In January 2022, Attorney General James reached a $1.85 billion settlement with one of the nation’s largest student loan managers, Navient, after tricking thousands of student borrowers into forbearance plans. costly and long-term, forcing students to pay more than they should. to have.

In September 2021, Attorney General James sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, urging the agency to take strong action to fix the broken civil service loan forgiveness program.

In July 2020, Attorney General James and a multi-state coalition sued the Trump administration’s U.S. Department of Education and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to block their efforts to repeal essential protections for student-borrowers who have been misled or defrauded by predatory for-profit schools.

Additionally, in June 2020, Attorney General James filed a lawsuit in several states to stop the Department of Education and Secretary DeVos from repealing the “paid employment” rule, which provides essential protections. students considering enrollment in for-profit colleges and vocational schools that promise students “paid employment in a recognized profession” upon graduation.

In January 2019, Attorney General James and the New York State Department of Financial Services secured a $9 million settlement with a federal student loan agent, ACS Education Services (currently known as name of Conduent Education Services), after an investigation found the company had steered borrowers away from income-based repayment plans toward more expensive options.

Additionally, Attorney General James helped broker two multi-state agreements with loan companies—Student CU Connect CUSO in June 2019 and PEAKS in September 2020—that attacked ITT Technical Institute students by inciting them to take out private student loans. These agreements provided $7.5 million in debt relief for nearly 900 New York ITT students. In April 2021, Attorney General James urged the U.S. Department of Education to forgive the federal student loan debt of defrauded ITT Technical Institute students.

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